Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Skarke, Adam

Committee Member

Dash, Padmanava

Committee Member

Meng, Qingmin

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences


Methane seeps are a transport pathway for carbon from seafloor sediments to the marine environment with important implications for global biogeochemical cycling. Accordingly, there is substantial interest in better understanding the processes that control seep location and predicting the distribution of seeps with existing seafloor datasets. Visual evaluation of methane seeps, in multibeam sonar water column data, suggests a spatial relationship between seeps and specific seafloor morphologic features such as ridge crests. In this thesis, seafloor geomorphology at 1996 seep detection sites on the US Atlantic margin was quantitatively characterized by geomorphologic phonotype, bathymetric position index, slope, rugosity, and aspect to evaluate the relationship between seafloor geomorphology and seep location. Results indicate a spatial association between methane seeps and localized bathymetric highs. Additionally, maximum entropy spatial distribution analysis indicates that seafloor geomorphology is partially predictive of seep location and that existing bathymetric datasets may be useful in identifying undiscovered seeps.